Mountain View, CA—Two years after unveiling the world’s first consumer light field camera, Silicon Valley start-up Lytro revealed its second product—Lytro Illum—a camera and software platform engineered to bring the full power of the light field to photography.
The professional-grade Illum is designed to pave the way for an immersive brand of storytelling in which images can be brought to life in multiple dimensions through light field photography—a transformative category that empowers artistic creation beyond what is possible in the 2D world of digital and film. In capturing the color, intensity and direction of every light ray flowing into the camera, Lytro Illum provides a massive amount of visual information that allows photographers to recreate sights and scenes on an experiential canvas.
“With Lytro Illum, creative pioneers—ranging from artistic amateurs to experienced professionals—will tap into a new wave of graphical storytelling. Now artist and audience alike can share an equally intimate connection with the imagery, and, in a sense, jointly participate in the magic of its creation,” explained Jason Rosenthal, Lytro’s CEO. “By combining a novel hardware array with tremendous computational horsepower, this camera opens up unprecedented possibilities to push the boundaries of creativity beyond the limits inherent in digital or film photography.”
To enable rich, layered compositions, the camera merges custom-built hardware with a software platform and employs a 40-megaray light field sensor, 8x optical zoom, a constant f/2.0 aperture and a 1/4,000-second shutter speed capable of freezing motion under various conditions. Other features include: extreme close-focus macro capability; a combination of tactile controls and a smartphone-type, articulating touch screen; and a hot shoe that supports flash units.
After image capture, the software platform enables photographers to adjust aspects of images that were previously fixed, such as focus, tilt, perspective shift and depth of field, which allows the creation of an image that will resonate not just in one dimension, but in every dimension. The software enables: perspective adjustments and physically accurate tilt control; instant display of 3D photos on 3D-capable devices; and integrated sharing to social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. It also provides interactive depth assistance and a library of drag-and-drop cinematic animations, such as pan, zoom, focus and perspective shift.
Lytro Illum’s photographic experience reflects the technological revolution around virtual reality and 3D graphics as new storytelling formats. “Light field photography is following the classic pattern for a transformational concept,” said Lytro’s founder, Dr. Ren Ng. “The original Lytro camera, which launched in 2012, introduced an entirely new era in photography. Lytro Illum will advance this movement to a new level. We are very excited by the potential of this camera to ignite a photography revolution on the magnitude of the transformation from film to digital.”
In addition to enabling post-capture image adjustments, the new camera’s proprietary software platform enables users to view images in 3D, build custom animations, export images into common formats like JPEG and share to the web or mobile devices. Its workflow is compatible with existing photo-editing suites like Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and Apple Aperture software.
As part of the camera’s launch, Lytro is offering opportunities to those who preorder the camera before July 15. In addition to receiving an engraved Lytro Illum for a special introductory price of $1,499 and an extended two-year warranty, they’ll be eligible to join an inner circle of Lytro users with insider access to product development insight and support. Even after the product ships, this nucleus of early adopters will continue to receive insight and training from the Lytro team, with opportunities to contribute to exclusive developmental projects.
Individuals who preorder also have the opportunity to submit their own photo series to earn a spot in the Ultimate Lytro Photo Experience—a trip to shoot alongside a prominent photographer on an all-expense paid photo shoot. The Lytro team and the pro photographer partner will provide hands-on training and practice for getting the most out of the Lytro Illum.
The Lytro Illum light field camera will ship starting July 2014 for a retail price of $1,599. lytro.com